November 2, 2022

World Series 4: Astros 5, Phillies 0

Updated: New 4th & 6th paragraphs.
Astros   - 000 050 000 - 5 10  0
Phillies - 000 000 000 - 0  0  0
Astros pitchers Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly combined for only the second no-hitter in World Series history. It was 66 years ago that Don Larsen of the Yankees, an unlikely candidate to achieve such pitching immortality, no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.

Houston batted around in the fifth inning, scoring all of their runs in a 5-0 win that re-knotted the series at two wins apiece. The Astros guaranteed that they will play at least one more game in Houston.

Javier (6-0-0-2-9, 97) was making only his third career postseason start and he was brilliant, allowing only two flyballs to the outfield and retiring his last 11 batters. Abreu struck out the side in the seventh, Montero pitched a clean eighth, and Pressly issued a one-out walk but otherwise had no trouble. Three walks were issued: Harper, to start the second (he stole second with two outs), Brandon Marsh with one out in the third, and Kyle Schwarber with one down in the ninth.

While I understand the annoyance of watching managers pull pitchers in the process of throwing a no-hitter, Javier had thrown 97 pitches through six innings. That's an average of 16.2 per inning: 15-17-18 12-15-20. At that pace, if he had gone nine innings, his pitch count would have been 146. He has never thrown a complete game, minors or majors, in 101 starts. I'm hard pressed to name many managers who would have allowed an extremely talented 25-year-old pitcher to throw 150+ pitches on a chilly night in November, after already throwing 155 innings this season.

The four Astros pitchers totalled 14 strikeouts and completely tamed the heart of the Phillies' lineup. Philadelphia's #3-6 hitters -- J.T. Realmuto, Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Alex Bohm -- went 0-for-12 with 11 strikeouts.

Houston's pitchers held the Phillies to an expected batting average of .081, which is the lowest single-game xBA for any team in any postseason game in the Statcast Era (since 2015). (xBA measures the likelihood that a batted ball will become a hit, based on how often comparable balls, in terms of exit velocity, launch angle and, on certain batted balls, the fielder's sprint speed, have become hits since Statcast was implemented in 2015.)

The Astros threatened to score against Aaron Nola (4-7-3-0-4, 67) before the explosion in the fifth. Kyle Tucker led off the second with a double to the wall in right. He went to third on a groundout and Christian Vázquez was hit by a pitch. Nola stranded the two runners by striking out Aledmys Díaz and Chas McCormick. Yuri Gurriel and Vázquez both singled with two outs in the fourth, but Díaz grounded to short.

McCormick, Jose Altuve, and Jeremy Pena singled to open the fifth, loading the bases and chasing Nola. Jose Alvarado's first pitch plunked Yordan Alvarez in the side and brought in Houston's first run. (It was the eighth bases-loaded HBP in World Series history and the first one with no outs.) Alex Bregman sliced a double towards the corner in right for two more runs. Alvarez scored on Tucker's fly out to center and Gurriel's single to left scored Bregman with the fifth run.

The Astros' pitching staff has an active streak of 11 consecutive no-hit World Series innings, which is a record, tied with the 1939 Yankees for the longest streak. Red Ruffing finished Game 1 against the Reds with four no-hit innings and Monte Pearson did not allow a hit for the first seven innings of Game 2.

However: In Game 1, Ruffing allowed a leadoff single in the fifth before getting a strikeout and a double play. That fifth inning included a hit, but he recorded 15 outs after it happened. In Game 2, Pearson got the first out of the eighth (his 22nd out) before giving up a single. So the Yankees recorded 37 consecutive outs without allowing a hit.

Houston's current streak stands at 36 outs (three outs after a leadoff hit in the sixth inning of Game 3 + the seventh and eighth innings of Game 3 + the nine-inning no-hitter tonight).


Paul Hickman said...

So we command a Home Run for The Phils ....... but AFTER 2 outs in the 1st !!!!

Dr. Jeff said...

Last night, Smoltz said that if his team was batting and had the bases loaded with no outs, he would be rooting for a double play (he gave example of a ball hit to the SS) “Because then a run would score”.

Jim said...

I didn't think it was possible for those two idiots doing the pbp for the Sportsnet telecast to be even more annoying. They were. Somebody needs to tell the "color" guy to just shut the fuck up. And pbp guy not to repeat what color guy just said. Jesus. They ain't rockin my world.